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Glass art has many layers

Local jewelry-maker works with fused glass

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Forget gold and silver – Elaine Berry makes jewelry out of fused glass.

The West End resident has created a home jewelry-making business, Designs by Elaine, on the side. Berry had taken beginner fusing classes at Prairie Stained Glass (587 Sargent Ave.) where she developed an interest in making her own jewelry.

"I tell people I’m a ‘glass-oholic,’" Berry laughed.

Glass fusing is a technique that involves using sheet glass, typically an eighth of an inch thick, which is cut into a specific pattern or shape. Those pieces are layered onto a base glass or a canvas of glass. The designed piece that is placed on top of the canvas is put in a kiln heated to about 1,475 degrees Fahrenheit. Including heating and cooling, the process takes about 24 hours.

"And during that temperature the individual pieces of glass fuse or melt together to become one cohesive piece of glass," Prairie Stained Glass vice president Matthew McMillan explained.
McMillan said that glass is one of the most stable materials to work with.

"It’s a perceived fragile material. It has definitely stood the test of time," McMillan said. "They’re still digging up glass artifacts from ancient Egypt."

Before Berry began her love affair with fused glass jewelry, she had originally been selling stained glass at the Pineridge Hollow farmers’ market, but her business took off once she started selling fused jewelry.

"Over the seven years (I’ve been making fused glass jewelry), I’ve evolved. My technique has improved so I have a lot of people who come back," Berry said.

Berry doesn’t have a physical or online store at the moment. She mostly sells her products, typically priced between eight dollars to $20, through farmers markets, craft sales, and networking through friends and family. Berry still sets up her fused glass jewelry at Pineridge Hollow on Saturday mornings.

"But if another farmers market comes up, I’m willing to try it, just to get to other parts of the city," Berry said.

Prairie Stained Glass is offering a beginner fusing class from Nov. 9 to 10.

For more information or to register for the classes, call 204-783-1117. The total cost of the weekend will cost $282.50 including taxes. McMillan said all supplies are provided except a glass cutter, but that can be purchased from them.

For more information about Designs by Elaine or to place an order, email
eberry@mts.net

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